Cups, Swords, Staves and Coins
by Gareth-Michael Skarka
November 28, 2000
"The most beautiful experience we can have is that of mystery." Albert Einstein
As I promised last week, we're gonna take a look at the four suites of the Tarot, and how they correspond to the organizational groups of the Arcana, the secret society of lycanthropes who defend reality against the forces of chaos and darkness.
In a true Tarot deck, the minor arcana consist of fifty-six cards divided into four suits. It is assumed that the figured and numbered cards of the minor arcana were actually developed independent of and at a later stage than the twenty-two major arcana cards.
The number of cards presented my first problem: If there is a direct one-to-one correspondence between the cards and the organization, that limits my total number of players to only seventy-eight. Not good. So, I immediately make the decision that while there are only singular members that are given the offices of the Major Arcana, the ranks of the minor arcana are filled with many individuals. The players, as I mentioned last week, will fill the roles of the Pages and Knights of their particular suits, serving the needs of the two highest ranking members, the King and the Queen.
The Cups of the Tarot correspond to the heart, life and emotions. They represent the passive, receptive principle. In the organization of the Arcana, members of this suit are charged as the intelligence network of the group. It is their duty to collect information and keep the entire Arcana apprised of the movements and efforts of the Enemy.
The Swords of the Tarot symbolize energy, war, conflict, justice and destruction. Not surprisingly, the Sword suit of the Arcana is filled with the soldiers of this never-ending war.
The Staves of the Tarot pertains to work, action, creativity and authority. This section of the group is valued for its research into magic, and its advisory role. They are the sages and sorcerers of the organization.
The Coins of the Tarot (sometimes called Deniers or Pentacles, depending upon the deck) are emblematic of material domain: commerce, sovereignty, and money. This suit is charged with the earthly concerns of the Arcana: they are the ones who get their hands on the equipment, the property, the vehicles, etc., acting sort of like a quartermasters corps.
These four suits make up the rank and file of the Arcana, and, as mentioned last week, are made up of many lower-ranking members (who correspond to the numbered cards), a smaller number of Pages and Knights (the players), and a single King and Queen, who direct the efforts of the entire suit.
Separate from the suits are the 22 individual werewolves, the most powerful of their kind, who have been assigned the role of one of the Major Arcana (also known as the Trumps). They operate as the "ruling council" of the Arcana, directing the efforts of the four suits, as well as undertaking their own individual operations.
This all sounds like the Arcana are as rigid and structured as the local Elk's Lodge, but it is really much more ephemeral than that. More on this later. Again, we find ourselves at the end of our all-too-brief talk of this week. Sleep well, and I'll see you in 7, when we'll get into more specific detail about how all of this is going to be pulled off online in stunning Skotos fashion.